Ancient House of Cards

Ancient House of Cards

by Bryan T Clark

GiGi (07/08/14): Sebastian Morales is smart, gorgeous and has just turned 30. He is also one of the youngest Priests to be assigned to the sleepy little town of Morris Colorado, nestled just below the majestic Rocky Mountains. Born in a remote village in Spain, Father Moralesí life had been perfectly scripted as he obtained his dreams. Now in America, he is at task with revitalizing an aging congregation. The job seems easy until he meets Ian Stephens. Ian is troubled, good-looking, openly gay and trapped between his own dreams and the responsibility he feels for the care of his aging mother. Escorting his mother to Sunday Mass one morning, Ian and Father Moralesí life intersect, changing both forever. Ian believes he has seen something in the Fatherís eyes that morning, a spark, an intuition, or was he just fantasizing about the seductively alluring priest. Ian is willing to risk it all in order to find the answer, in turn feeding his own sexual desires and causing boundaries to be questioned by everyone. After an unforeseen yet unforgettable kiss between the two men, will an Ancient House of Cards be toppled when they are faced with confronting the moral dilemma that neither of them can escape?

Where to begin? I really enjoyed this book, and even though it may not matter to most people, and pen names mask gender, I truly feel the masculine perspective when reading this story. Ancient House of Cards isnít really a romance in the bodice ripper/tight pants tradition, though there are sensual scenes and chemistry between the characters. This story is familiar to anyone who lived with abuse, whether as a child or as an adult trying to handle their own psychological problems. This story is about trying to break the cycles of abuse, and how very difficult that really is. Ian may have vowed to himself never to be the abusive man his father was, or to put up with abuse for so long like his mother had, but even when we take positive steps to change the obvious cycles of abuse, we can easily overlook the more subtle effects of abuse. Like Ian setting himself up to fail, going back to a partner who abuses his trust repeatedly. Only to repeat those behaviors himself when he develops a new relationship with Sebastian Morales. There are so many layers to abuse, so many long-term effects, that seeing Ian face them, and get help is so real, so hard, and so great. The drama here is heart wrenching, and so very honest. Though Ian has finally left his unhealthy relationship with his cheating ex, and built a new home and plans a new direction for his life and his career, it seems he canít help but make bad mistakes just as life is moving forward. Two steps forward one step back they say. Ian isnít the only one in an unhealthy state of mind here. Father Sebastian Morales is hiding from many truths in his own heart. Heís conflicted for sure by his attraction to Ian, disagrees with many tenants of his faith, yet still feels the calling to be part of the church. He denies such a big part of himself that when it finally erupts heís sick with dread, physically and mentally distraught with coming to terms with what it means to be a gay man and his commitment as a priest in the Catholic Church. He begins to lie, to others, to himself, and as any reader can predict it all comes crumbling down on him. I wonít give away the big game changer, but this story is an extremely important one. The moral of the story, for me anyhow, is that you first must be happy and healthy with yourself before you can be happy with another person. You cannot count on another person for your own happiness. I also like the way Bryan ended this story, one can imagine many different outcomes for themselves.
Rating: *****

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